Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 1/2 hours
1 1/2 cups|335 grams (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups|380 grams cake flour, sifted, plus more for pan
1 pound|450 grams fresh or frozen cherries
3 cups|583 grams granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 (8-ounce|229 grams) package cream cheese, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the inside of a 18-by-13-by-1-inch rimmed baking sheet, then line the bottom and 2 long sides with a sheet of parchment paper, letting at least 1 inch hang over the sides. Grease the paper with butter then coat with flour, tapping out the excess.
2. Place a strainer or colander over a bowl. If using fresh cherries, pit them over the colander, letting any juices fall into the bowl and discard the pits. Tear or cut each cherry in half and leave it to drain in the strainer while you make the cake batter. If using frozen cherries, pour them into the colander and let them thaw fully, allowing their juices to fall into the bowl. Tear or cut each cherry in half.
3. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, salt, lemon zest, and cream cheese and beat on medium speed of a hand mixer until super fluffy and pale, at least 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each until smooth before adding the next.
4. Scrape the bottom and side of the bowl with a rubber spatula then beat the mixture on medium-high speed until super light and airy, at least 3 minutes. Add the flour and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Take any cherry juice collected from the bowl and pour it into the batter. Stir the batter just a couple times to barely swirl the juice into the batter.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking sheet, and smooth the top. Drop the cherries evenly all over the top of the batter and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake until the cake poking out between the cherries is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake (not through a cherry) in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
6. Remove the cake from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool completely to room temperature. Grab one side of the parchment paper overhang and slide the cake out of the baking sheet and onto a cutting board. Cut the cake into 16 to 20 squares and serve at room temperature.